Way church was done

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Today I read the following

    In the early church, the rabbi was there primarily for quality control, not as the primary teacher and speaker. He did not even address the people from an elevated platform. The whole congregation was in a more circular format, each sharing what they believed God was saying. The focus was on the power of God working through each individual, not one individual (1 Cor. 14:26).

    Anyone ever been in a church like that and saw this being done? I guess the problem I would see is there would be those who would be good orators who would share ignorance as though it were truth and when corrected they would argue their point. While I have opened the floor for people to share what God is doing and have had some very edifying times for the congregation I had a young couple become members and then found out later from the pastor of the church they came from that the man had said things that were lined with doomsday thoughts. I had to agree with the pastor. While the young man always said things that were edifying in the assembly. However he would say things in a small group that were not always correct but there were some who would agree because they had come from a Pentecostal background. I also noticed that he acted as though he had a handle on God. It was obvious that he had struggles with the role of the Holy Spirit and seemed to think that if he thought something then it must be right because he felt it. Most of the time he would preface what he said with "I feel."
     
  2. glfredrick

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    The closest approximation to that in recent church history has been the Quaker movement.

    They have no designated leader and allow the Holy Spirit to speak through whomever He leads to speak.

    They, for all practical purposes, are a dead movement, and also inconsistent with the actual view shown us in Scripture, which has listed pastors/elders, deacons, evangelists, teachers, and ministers.
     
  3. preacher4truth

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    There is serious danger involved when persons are asked what a passage means to them, and to do so can make it quite awkward in overcoming the errors that will come out in the responses.

    The format you've described by reference is making every person a "pastor," "teacher," "evangelist," and not all have that gift or calling. It is then making truth subjective. Disseminating objective truth is the calling and gifting of pastors, teachers and evangelists, and it is their task to equip the saints with truth.

    It's high time we have those gifted and proven as such to stand up and mete out truth as "this is truth, this is what God says" instead of the "'round the room what does it mean to you?" method that lends itself to spurious and erroneous doctrines.
     
    #3 preacher4truth, Jan 25, 2012
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  4. glfredrick

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    In keeping with what P4T just said above, there are multiple ways that persons interpret Scripture, all of which are based on the way they have been taught (or not taught, as the case may be) and on the way they have seen in others. What is often not realized is that the church (generic) has see-sawed back and forth on the issue of scriptural interpretation almost since the NT was set in writing (and before for the OT).

    One group favored allagorical interpretation (actually 3 interpretations, what happened historically, what that implied, and an allagorical interpretation that may go almost anywhere as long as it fits the general structure of the passage).

    Another group favored the historical-gramatical interpretation, where the text is interpreted according to the rules of grammar with an eye toward understanding THE SINGULAR INTENT of the original writer, with any other implications drawn from the text noted as such -- implications drawn from the text.

    Yet another group favored the higher critical method, whereby the concept of evolution was applied to the Scriptures, and a "progression of revelation" and of the building of God's kingdom is seen, the more ancient texts being the less well developed and the later texts being the most (and therefor the most reliable) well developed. This translates, by way of one example, to Israel drifting from a primitive (and later set-aside) practice of sacrifice of animals to ultimately holding a pure "spiritual expression" of God without all the bloodshed, etc.

    There is another way as well... Just make the verse say what one wants because it has some key word in it...
     
  5. nodak

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    Way back when Noah let us all off the ark--no, not really THAT old--Southern Baptists considered all members equal. The people in the church, under the leadership of Jesus Christ, held the authority in the church.

    And it was not unusual in one church for sister sue to be ardently dispensational, brother bill a calvinist, and gentleman jim still muttering under his breath that all Bibles should be KJV--and black.

    There wasn't this cult like mindset that only one opinion could possibly be held among the people and still work together to propagate the gospel.

    Neither was there the opposite idea that truth was relative.

    We figured truth was truth, none of us had a perfect handle on it, and let's all learn together.

    You might enjoy reading "The Way We Were" by Fisher Humphreys for a more detailed view of that time.
     
  6. preacher4truth

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    I've underlined what you've stated that I would like to discuss with you as I am assuming it is reactionary to my point above in the 3rd post. If not, I still wish to address this notion of yours.

    First, I feel I should convey what I believe, so that it is not construed as "cult like." One major point is that God has appointed some as pastors, teachers, evangelists (Eph. 4:13) to equip the saints. This is His methodology.

    I Corinthians 14:26 also shows how each gift has its place, all things are to be done for edification, and let the prophets speak, they had their place and office &c.

    The fact is, many within the churches gladly recognize this, and count these worthy of double honor 1 Timothy 5:17, which is the Scriptural attitude, and in so doing these don't count their teachings as "cult like" and of "one opinion" in the negative sense, but look at this office as authoritative, yet not perfect, and respect their study and teaching of truth. I believe respect for the office of a pastor is shown by how we react to these things.

    Now, what I've said is not absolute truth concerning some rather odd and erroneous beliefs coming out from a "what does the Bible mean to you?" round table discussion but I've seen it more often than not, and that is what I am addressing.

    Further Scriptural support for the gift of teaching would be the alluding to the fact we are not all the head, hand, feet &c.

    Following Scriptural patterns is a safe path, and many people have embarrassed themselves by expressing errant beliefs only to have them rebutted, wishing they'd never made a statement.

    My bottom line is that one should be cautious in placing truth on the level of what is relative and subjective, and into the hands of laity as sometimes things begin to go amiss shortly thereafter. It's also awkward to do so, and then have to dig yourself out of the hole someone else has dug for themselves.

    At the end of the day what we see going on too often is people not wanting to listen to sound doctrine, or dogmatic truth, but want to do what is right in their own eyes &c. Instead, God has sent us preachers to preach the Word in season and out of season to quell these things.

    Also, I'd have to totally disagree with you that truth "then" was never thought of as being relative. That's rather idealistic, and man since the beginning of time has thought truth to be relative and subjective. I don't believe your assessment to be accurate.

    - Peace
     
    #6 preacher4truth, Jan 25, 2012
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  7. Bob Alkire

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    Short answer is no. However I've been in about 15 or 20 churches, that while the preacher was preaching people would raise their hand(that was in their practice, might not happen at all but have seen it happen maybe up to 5 times a service) and the pastor would ask for the question and then give his answer and if more was needed they would meet after the service. I enjoyed it, was a member of church that did it but when the pastor left, the next pastor wasn't for it, so it was done away with.
     
  8. mont974x4

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    Overall I agree with you. However, it depends on the context. When I preach, I preach. I may ask questions on occasion just to ensure that I am being heard and understood. In small groups I do love the discussions. When someone is off track we can use the opportunity to teach by addressing a specific error. This can be done with a gentle spirit so no one has to feel awkward about being wrong. It does take some practice, and it requires us to know the people. That said, how we get to know the people? We spend time with them. We give them opportunities to speak, and we listen.

    You are right when you remind us that our purpose is to equip people. We see that clearly in Eph 4. I would simply remind us that a huge part of equipping involves letting people practice a gift. There is simply no other way to see if a person is gifted as a teacher, for example.

    Our families first pastor, some 37 years ago, had setup small groups. Every night of the week except Sunday Wednesday there was a group meeting in someones home. They took turns leading the class so everyone had an opportunity. The pastor was always present to answer questions when needed, bring a quick correction, or help keep things on track. This led to a deep love for the Word and some real growth in the people.
     
  9. preacher4truth

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    I agree with what you say here! My point is not allowing the class to be the teacher itself. You also have to know your people, whether you can employ such a thing, or if it is wise to not do so. I am totally for expressing belief, many people can do this in a class setting with no harm done. In another scenario though, I've seen it get way off track and get embarrassing. There are also those who have been appointed as teachers whose theology is already off and need to take a back seat in my opinion. We have experienced this first hand, even to tehpoint of sharing extrabiblical revelation as truth. This is the exception, not the rule.
     
  10. gb93433

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    Would you say that the difference between then and now is the immediate context?

    In each churches I pastored I had men that I was accountable to. When we met it was a time when they might encourage, challenge and advise me. It was always for the best. They would give me feedback on my sermons and I would share with them what I intended to preach the following week. There were times when I would ask them for advice because they may have an expertise I did not or I might have wanted to get their input on something. They were men with whom I could share confidences. Even to this day I still remain in contact with most of them.
     
  11. mont974x4

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    For sure. I had one man in my class a few years ago that every Sunday he was present he would derail the class. Thank God He used that man to develop some teaching skills, as well as patience, and how to love a difficult person.
     
  12. preacher4truth

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    I hear you! We had one fellow who was teaching that he prayed for something, then three drops of water hit his windshield to show he was right. :confused:

    I wonder what it would mean if it were four? Or two?

    I should've asked! The questions you always think of too late! :BangHead: :laugh:
     
    #12 preacher4truth, Jan 25, 2012
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  13. glfredrick

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    I believe that you are asking two different things, so I will respond that way subject to your correction.

    First, no, I don't believe the interpretation issues were based on immediate context -- at least much of the time -- but rather on expediency, what it was that got the point across that the one doing the interpretation wished to put forward.

    Second, I like accontability, and it can even go up the line beyond the local church (with some caveat for the fact that those apart from the local congregation having no jurisdiction, but advice only). We tacitly do that when we seek out commentaries, read other's sermons, read dictionaries and encyclopedias and other "writings" that help us to verify that we are walking an orthodox and not a heterodox interpretation of Scripture and doctrine. A discipleship or mentor group like you describe can be a very good thing as long as everyone is ultimately subject to the Word, "rightly divided."
     
  14. agedman

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    If I could change the preaching folks it would be in this one area.

    Part of the problem with preaching is that it often does not engage the assembly. Rather, it becomes an uninterrupted speech that a number in the teaching realm (think Sunday school) emulate. The "audience" is unresponsive not because they are uninterested, rather they are not engaged in the learning process. As a result the preachers actually become showmen, who use all kinds of antics (throwing microphones, jumping around, proclaiming loudly, sweating profusely, cursing, shaking the podium...) to get the point across. In some ways there is a correlation to the weaker the point the greater the need to reinforce it with extravagant antics.

    The greatest teaching engages those who are to be instructed. To do so the interrogatory should be noticeably more numerous in comparison to the declarative statements.

    The greatest teaching preachers that I ever sat under would often lead the thinking into fundamental truths and principles by asking questions and most of the time more often than making declarations. Calling for response not only engages the listeners, but is critical in assessing the level of learning that is taking place.

    To do this most effectively, one should have a very good grasp on "Bloom's Taxonomy of Learning."

    It isn't for everyone, not all are that skilful and have the "gift of teaching."


    If a person sits longer than about 8 to 10 minutes in a lecture they generally will have little recall. And it has been shown that often the recall is not only faulty but highly distorted as to what was the main point of the lecture.

    When asked of the finer points, the recall was almost non-existent. Those that attempted engagement by "tricks" (humor, illustration, stories, note taking...) had a bit higher success rate, but the decay of recalling soon brought the person into the same condition as if they had been sitting in a 45 minute lecture.

    Those of you who are young enough to recall sitting in classes will understand that even with taking notes, you had to study the notes, review the text, study the notes, review the text, over and over to actually pass some of the tests. How much less does the pew sitter get!!!!!!

    I have heard so very many pastors grown that they have preached a certain topic multiple times and the people just don't remember.

    Perhaps, the problem isn't the people but the delivery system.

    I don't remember now who was posting the other day, but rather than making statements they continued asking insightful questions leading the discussion into insightful understanding by the respondents.
     
  15. nodak

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    preacher4truth--no, I was not referencing you.

    And no need to get your knickers in a twist.

    I was just making the point--and since I lived through the change in point of view of the convention, I get to speak of that change--that as Southern Baptists we have done a 180 degree turn from what we believed was the preacher's role.

    We have, to be blunt, become a pack of fighting fundamentalists with some seeing themselves in a God given authority.

    Others, to be blunt again, disagree.

    The changeover may have been wonderful, or devastating, depending on your point of view, but it HAS been a CHANGE.

    Read the book I recommended and get back to me with your thoughts.
     
  16. gb93433

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    A few years ago I was teaching at a university and could not figure out why students were not involved in questions I asked. When I asked a trusted student he told me that they did not like questions or rhetorical questions but rather they just wanted me to tell them what they should know. There were times when I gave them some homework and had them present their choice to the class. That seemed to work better than opening it up to the class at the moment.

    When pastoring in my first pastorate a lady who was a retired nurse told me just to tell them what they needed to know. In both cases I was trying to get them to think about the why of things so that they could transfer the principles to other areas. When I asked my own daughter who is a senior and has a 3.92 GPA she told me much the same thing. Much of her studies have been in philosophy.

    So much of what I hear is a "repeat after me" belief. I have seen that among pastors too. The idea that if someone else says it or writes a book on it then it must be true. It is the idea of teaching what people have heard or want to hear. Years ago I told a man about what I had learned about deaconesses in the early church. When I showed him the documents from about 125 AD he walked away because that meant he could not longer preach the political party line without being reminded of what I said. He was one who was wanting to climb the party ladder. I have never found a case where both sides of the doctrinal fence which opposes each other can be correct. Too often the politicians are pushing another agenda and do not want to deal with the truth.
     
    #16 gb93433, Jan 25, 2012
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  17. glfredrick

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    Hey, you and I agree for once!
     
  18. preacher4truth

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    Tell you what, you don't get your POISE in a twist and I'm doing just great. :laugh:

    And I'll keep my Scriptural viewpoint of authority and of given offices, and won't change that because of "the times."

    I believe in these offices in their Scriptural givens, and, in their authority as God given, prior to any radical change that came along which happened to change yours and others views.

    I'll stick to the Scriptural mandate while refusing to embrace any cynicism borne from a change within a convention.

    - Peace
     
    #18 preacher4truth, Jan 25, 2012
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  19. agedman

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    You are correct that the typical student who has been exposed to nothing but lecture and homework is not "comfortable" with the interrogatory methods used as a dominate method of teaching. They generally do not want to think for them self and just as the typical pew sitter will think they are excused from anything other that "what I have been taught as the truth."

    However, I was not stating what was preferred or what made someone comfortable, but what was actually the most effective.

    Congrats on your daughter's GPA! That is outstanding!
     
  20. michael-acts17:11

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    The following statement: "First, I feel I should convey what I believe, so that it is not construed as "cult like." One major point is that God has appointed some as pastors, teachers, evangelists (Eph. 4:13) to equip the saints. This is His methodology" was used in support of the current system. However, in reality, it condemns the current cult-like system. Yes, God instituted the various gifts "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ", but in the modern church, these gifts are being consolidated into one man who supposedly meets all of the spiritual needs of dozens or hundreds of believers in little 30 minute lectures. Where is this model found in Scripture? This consolidation of power has changed the church from an interactive, self-building organism into a weak, spiritually shallow cult-like organization with one priestly leader who is unaccountable to anyone.

    The modern preeminence & perceived infallibility of the pastorship is unScriptural. In practice, our pastors are no different than Catholic priests. Entire church bodies turn to one man for truth & rely on him alone as the source of truth. It is believed that his lectures are needed in order to be "right with", "blessed by", or "honored by" God.

    To grow spiritually means that some of our beliefs will change over time to conform to the truth of Scripture as the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. When have you ever heard of a pastor telling the congregation that the Spirit revealed to him that he was wrong for teaching them "x" doctrine? They come out of seminary, having been taught what to believe, and preach the same doctrines for the rest of their lives; expecting THEIR followers to dutifully conform their beliefs to his without question. How can men who are too proud & too indoctrinated to allow the Holy Spirit to change themselves properly lead others in truth? They cannot, and that is why pews are full of shallow believers who can only parrot what they have been told to believe by their priestly pastors.
     

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